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Colin of the Ninth Concession
By R. L. Richardson (1903)


Introductory Note

WITH the downfall of Napoleon, the mighty tempest that had begun with the French Revolution subsided and died away into a period of calm; but its effects were far-reaching. Into the vast, unbroken forest that lay for thousands of miles westward and northward from the Ottawa River, unpeopled save by a few wandering Algonquins, it had borne onwards a little colony of Scottish immigrants — disbanded soldiers from Wellington’s armies and a number of their friends and neighbours, accompanied by their families. They set out to make a home for themselves in a land where they would be the owners of their own farmsteads. Entering the primeval forest, they selected their acres of trees and set to work to hew out a clearing and to plant their grain and garden seeds among the stumps. To the pioneers in other parts of the forest this district became known as "the Scotch Settlement." It forms to-day several townships in the eastern portion of the Canadian province of Ontario.

Here was developed a people whose sturdy life, as they spread over the Dominion, has done much to build up the commerce and to develop the resources of this country.

If, in this chronicle of the remarkable events of which I was a deeply interested spectator, there shall be presented some pictures of the life of the settlers, with their lights and shades, with "their homely joys and destiny obscure" — pictures which can be easily recognised by all who have lived "near to Nature’s heart"; if some Canadian hearts are warmed, and some Canadian fancies are pleased, as familiar faces and characteristics are delineated, then the author’s reward will be complete.

The lives, the thoughts, and the conversation of the people were permeated by their religion. If all reference to this had been omitted from the pages which follow, a true picture of the community would not have been drawn.

The reader will, it is hoped, readily excuse any partiality an old man has shown in writing of his young friends, as well as the garrulousness that has at times led him off into discursive irrelevancies.

The events recorded in this chronicle occurred subsequent to the year 1840.

Contents

PART I

AN UNNATURAL MAN

  1. Auld Peggy’s Story
  2. Colin’s English Parents
  3. Wasby’s Home
  4. A Horrible Crime
  5. Mrs. McNabb
  6. Great Days for Auld Peggy
  7. The Trial
  8. The Confession

PART II

LIFE IN THE SCOTCH SETTLEMENT

  1. Goarden
  2. Jock, the Drover, describes Dooley’s Dance
  3. The Shantymen’s Songs
  4. The Annual Pastoral Visit
  5. Entertaining the Minister
  6. Goarden’s French is challenged
  7. "Doin’ Statue Labor"
  8. Nathan Larkins, the "Local Preacher"
  9. Mrs. McNabb and her Family
  10. The Schoolmaster
  11. Colin’s First School Fight
  12. What Auld Peggy overheard at the Cross-roads
  13. The Crisis at the Spelling-match
  14. Waiting for the Schoolmaster
  15. The Friendship of Muckle Peter
  16. Nathan is elected Chairman
  17. Dooley breaks up the Political Meeting

PART III

LOVE AND WAR

  1. Willie’s Daring Deed
  2. The Young Hero’s Mother
  3. Mrs. Rolphe
  4. Helen
  5. Willie and Colin preparing for War
  6. Around the Home Hearthstone
  7. Colin and Katie
  8. The Threshers’ Food and Fun
  9. Helping in the Sugar Bush
  10. Auld Peggy’s Love Story
  11. The Sugar-bush Party
  12. Colin receives his Mother’s Picture
  13. Jamie assists John B. Gough
  14. Willie and Helen say Good-bye
  15. In the Thick of the War
  16. Wounded at Gettysburg
  17. "Donald Dishart," the Spy
  18. "The Master" begs for his Life
  19. A Lover’s Anxiety
  20. Helen’s Answer
  21. The Scotch Settlement welcomes its Heroes

Part IV

COLIN COMES TO HIS OWN

  1. Breaking the News to Mother
  2. The Bar-room Tragedy
  3. Auld Peggy and Muckle Peter object to Revival Meetings
  4. Fate busy with Colin
  5. A Death-bed Confession
  6. Colin hears Startling News
  7. Auld Peggy spreads the Romantic Story
  8. Colin departs for England
  9. The Mortgage is paid
  10. Auld Peggy’s Gratitude
  11. Goarden applies for a New Job
  12. Two Weddings
  13. Mother

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